Azalea Storytelling Festival 2022 Featured Storytellers

Donald Davis

Donald Davis was born in a Southern Appalachian Mountain world rich in stories. While he heard many traditional stories about Jack and other heroic characters, he was most attracted to the stories of his own family and places of origin.  Davis begins retelling the stories he heard and then adding his own new stories to them until he was repeatedly asked to "tell it again, on purpose."

During his twenty-five-year career as a United Methodist Minister, Davis began to use stories more and more.  He was also asked to begin performing at festivals and in other settings until he retired from the church to tell stories full time.

The author of eighteen books and more than forty original recordings, Davis is the recipient of both the Circle of Excellence and the Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Storytelling Network.


Carol Cain

She first discovered the power of storytelling thirty years ago, as a new mother, when her 12th grade English students begged for stories about her son to get her off the topic of British literature. She continued to tell stories in her classroom until her retirement last summer, after thirty years of teaching language arts and theatre arts with the Troup County School System in LaGrange, Georgia. In addition to being her school system’s Teacher of the Year for 2000, Carol was named a top five finalist for Georgia’s 2001 Teacher of the Year.

Carol has been a member of the Azalea Storytelling Festival planning committee since the festival’s inception in 1997. She has been the emcee of the Azalea Festival many times and was a featured teller in 2015.

Kevin Kling

Kevin is best known for his popular commentaries on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and his storytelling stage shows like Tales from the Charred Underbelly of the Yule Log, delivers hilarious, often tender stories.  Kling’s autobiographical tales are as enchanting as they are true to life: hopping freight trains, getting hit by lightning, performing his banned play in Czechoslovakia, growing up in Minnesota, and eating things before knowing what they are.

Josh Goforth

Josh must have been born musical—he was already playing piano in church at the age of four—but it was an experience he had in the sixth grade that really lit the fuse of his precocious musical career. A performance at Goforth’s middle school by Sheila Kay Adams caused him to start thinking about the musical heritage and stories of his native Madison County, NC. Josh was able to listen and learn from local masters to become a highly accomplished storyteller and acoustic musician playing close to 20 different instruments. His fiddling was featured in the movie Songcatcher, both onscreen and on the soundtrack.  He has performed in all 50 states, throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia and gracing such stages as the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and The Grand Ole Opry. He was nominated for a Grammy for his 2009 release with David Holt, entitled Cutting Loose. His unique blend of storytelling and music has brought him to many storytelling stages including the National Storytelling Festival.

Ed Stivender

A self-described “full-time daydreamer who moonlights as a storyteller,” Ed Stivender has toured the world since 1981 presenting his one-man shows in Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, Indonesia, and in festivals across the U.S.  Known for his delightful mixture of whimsy, wit and wisdom, he invites his audience into an interactive dance of the imagination. The author of two books of coming-of-age stories, his writing has appeared in Reader’s DigestCatholic Digest, and Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul.  Stivender, an NSN ORACLE Circle of Excellence award recipient, is also an award-winning Philadelphia Mummer.

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LaGrange, GA 30240
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